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The MuralThe 360 Degree View

Alligator Pool

The Public Square in El Paso was moved from the north end of El Paso street to downtown El Paso in 1859. It was named San Jacinto Plaza 1902.

In 1883 alligators arrived in the Plaza, and many people nicknamed it “Alligator Park.” The alligators were kept in a pool in the center of the Plaza, and attracted many visitors. During the frontier period, when it was very chilly in the winter-time, some people would try to keep the alligators warm at night by wrapping them in coffee sacks and taking them to the saloon to warm themselves by the stoves.

The alligators were removed from the Plaza in the 1960’s, when they were removed for their safety and well-being. They are remembered today with a statue in the center of the Plaza created by famed Texas artist Luis Jimenez.

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extended activity
Draw a picture of the alligators in San Jacinto Plaza. Underneath your picture, explain some of the reasons why the alligators might have been removed from the Plaza.

Related Links:

Brief history of El Paso and San Jacinto Plaza

“Feeding the Alligators” from the George Fuermann City of Houston Collection

Read More, Learn More:

Flores-Turner, Camille. 1997. Howl: The Artwork Of Luis Jimenez . Santa Fe, NM: New Mexico Magazine.